“To Serve and not to be Served”: The Mission of the Catholic Church through Education in Zambian Church History: A Narrative of James Spaita in the Public Sphere, 1960–2014





mission, public sphere, James Spaita, Catholic Church history, Catholic education, Catholic social teachings


This article revisits Zambian church history in order to show the interconnectedness of the mission of the Catholic Church through education and individual narratives of the clergy in the public sphere. This is done through the example of James Spaita. Informed by an interpretative phenomenological study that drew on interviews and content analysis, and in conversation with the Catholic Social Teachings (CST), the article advances that the contributions of James Spaita to church history were largely through education, advocacy and social justice—as shaped by his positionality as an indigenous priest, educator and church leader, and therefore a product of the Catholic Church’s context. Spaita’s narrative also signifies the growing public role and the mission of the Catholic Church in post-independence Zambia, as underpinned by social teachings of the Catholic Church. While discourses of Catholic Church history in Zambia were preoccupied with historicising missionary work and Catholic education (as part of the mission of the church) at the structural level, the article argues that the mission of the Catholic Church through education was also largely shaped by trajectories of the clergy in postcolonial and modern times.



Metrics Loading ...

Author Biography

Nelly Mwale, University of Zambia

Lecturer in the Department of Religious Studies